Tuesday 11 October 2016, 17:04

Chmielinski and Siems team up in quest for semi-final spot

Familiarity could be a vital factor if Germany are to succeed in the knockout stages of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016. This may help to explain why Gina Chmielinski and Caroline Siems are now both team-mates and room-mates after moving to a new hotel ahead of their quarter-final against Spain at 18:00 CET on Wednesday.

“As we both play for the same club, we’d already known each other longer and spent much more time together, and we get on well too,” explained midfielder Chmielinski, who not only plays with defender Siems for Turbine Potsdam but also lived with her at the Haus der Athleten (‘Athletes’ House’) residential football academy. “After the group stages we wanted to change things around so that different players could share rooms and that’s how we ended up together,” added Siems. “It already feels very similar , as we’ve got room-mates there too. Like there, we’re not spending all day together, just the time spent relaxing in the evening.”

“I think everyone in the squad gets on extremely well,” Siems continued. “We’re a really good team and I think that’s what makes us special. We live that way both on and off the pitch.” This may be one of the reasons why coach Anouschka Bernhard’s side managed to top their World Cup group. Their last-eight opponents and major European rivals Spain failed to win Group A after finishing second to Mexico on goal difference.

“We were obviously aiming to reach the quarter-final, and now we’re taking things one step at a time,” said Siems. “We want to reach the semi-final and will give it our all against Spain.” While the defender is a key member of the Germany team, her room-mate Chmielinski – one of the youngest players in the squad at 16 – has only played a few minutes of the campaign so far. “It won’t be an easy game, but I believe in our team. After that we’ll see what else is possible. A medal would certainly be really, really great,” Siems said.

Both young women would be understandably keen to extend their stay in Jordan, even though they have not yet had much time to acquaint themselves with many local facilities beyond training pitches, stadiums and accommodation. “It’s lovely here; the hotels are fantastic and Amman is just beautiful,” said Chmielinski, with Siems adding: “The landscape here is wonderful – completely different to what we’re used to back in Germany. We visited the Dead Sea and it was an incredible experience. We’re experiencing a completely different culture here.”

Germany will be hoping that their Jordanian adventure continues until 21 October, when Amman will play host to the final. Despite currently focusing their attention on Spain, both players have identified their favourites to take home the trophy – reigning world champions and potential semi-final opponents Japan. “Their skills and play are exceptional – they’re incredibly quick and agile,” said Siems, while Chmielinski expressed her admiration for their “fighting spirit and technique”.

Nevertheless, Bernhard’s team have certainly demonstrated the kind of qualities that could help them win Germany’s first World Cup in this age group. Perhaps this is what Siems meant when she expressed her hope that “we can finish well here and reward ourselves for the way we always perform”.